Melba Moore, who served as the City’s health commissioner and director, stepped down on June 30. She was named acting health director in 2015, after 14 years in the department. The City’s Charter requires that a full-time director be a medical doctor or have a qualifying degree in public health.
Jeanine Arrighi, MS, MPPA, bureau chief of the Health Department’s Environmental Health Services will serve as acting commissioner/director effective immediately.
Arrighi has been with the Health Department since 2004.
Krewson said the search for a permanent director will be comprehensive and transparent.
“We are looking for a health director who is innovative, has a strong professional background, and has an understanding of the unique needs of our City’s residents,” Krewson said.
Dr. Will Ross, professor of medicine in Washington University’s Renal Division, founding member of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission and chairman of the St. Louis Board of Health, will assist the City with the search.
Krewson said she is committed to increasing the wellness of the St. Louis community and fully supports the Health Department’s six priority focus areas, which are:
● Sustainability - The City of St. Louis aspires to foster a balanced and thriving environment and high quality of life that satisfies the physical and mental needs of its constituents, prevent disease through nutrition and fitness, and provide timely responses to natural disasters delivered by a coordinated and prepared resource network.
● Health Equity - Health disparities continue to be a concern not only in the City of St. Louis but in the metropolitan area. By focusing on health equity, the Department of Health is working to reduce many of the chronic illnesses that disproportionately impact certain segments of the population including heart disease, diabetes, and sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs). A project that offers outreach through local businesses and partners with various testing and treatment providers throughout the City are examples of this approach to addressing STIs.
● Obesity - Reducing obesity in the City is also part of the City’s Sustainability Action Agenda. The Department of Health is the lead agency in the City working on the goal of reducing obesity. By focusing on the reduction of obesity there will also be a reduction in some of the chronic health conditions facing St. Louis residents, including stroke, hypertension, certain cancers, and arthritis.
● Violence - Until recently violence was thought of solely as a public safety issue. Research now shows that it is beneficial to be treated also as a public health issue. St. Louis is taking a comprehensive approach to combating violence, and the Department of Health is adapting to be a part of the solution. The Department addresses youth violence through active participation in the community’s Youth Violence Prevention Partnership. Through work on this partnership the City was awarded a Byrne Project from the U.S. Department of Justice that amounted to almost $1 million. The Byrne Project addresses violence through community engagement and environmental interventions by enhancing community partnerships.
● Innovative Communication - St. Louis is a diverse community that requires public health information to be delivered in a variety of formats to inform, educate and empower our citizens about health issues. The Department of Health has worked aggressively to increase its social media presence throughout the Department. One communication and outreach example is the condom app and website to show condom availability throughout the region. This pilot project has shown great promise over the initial months of implementation.
● Emergency Preparedness - The City of St. Louis Department of Health takes a lead role in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. The department develops emergency response plans for the City and coordinates preparedness and response efforts with other teams within the City, in adjoining counties, and throughout the state. The department is one of the key partners in any emergency response to a natural or man-made event that threatens the public health and safety of City residents.
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Department of Health